Interview with Lila Heller
PD Active Pilates and Meditation Instructor

1. Why is Pilates important for people with Parkinson’s disease?

Pilates brings awareness and mindfulness to the body. The Pilates method not only strengthens the small muscles of the body but helps the body to become more flexible. These are important principles for people with Parkinson’s as body awareness, mobility and flexibility can become challenging. The emphasis on breathing is very important to keep the brain and body moving well and functioning at its best.

2. How did you become interested in Pilates?

I was a dancer in my teenage years and through college. I wanted to continue to move and have a career that kept me strong and allowed me to continue to dance.

3. How did you become interested in Pilates for people with Parkinson’s disease? 

Over the last 6 years I have been delving in and studying applied neurology and how our visual systems, vestibular systems and the brain affect our ability to move well. Since then, I have been working one-on-one with clients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I strive to learn more to help people with Parkinson’s disease to find ways to move with precision, coordination and ease.

4. How can people practice Pilates when they’re not in a live class?

There are some great YouTube channels including PD Active’s channel with which to practice. 

5. How is your class adapted for people with Parkinson’s disease?

I work with a chair if needed. My classes focus on waking up the body through neural-specific drills. We move through sitting, to standing, to being on the ground. I also focus on body awareness exercises and breathing.

6. Is there anything you want to share about your experience working with people with Parkinson’s?

I am enjoying working and learning with this group. Thank you for this opportunity!